The White House stood by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, saying calls for her to resign in the wake of the WikiLeaks release of confidential embassy cables were “ridiculous.”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had earlier told Time magazine that Clinton should resign if she is found to have ordered US diplomats to spy on UN officials in violation of international agreements.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called Assange’s remarks “ridiculous and absurd” and said President Barack Obama was pleased with Clinton’s work.
“The president has great confidence in and admires the work that Secretary Clinton has done to further our interests in the world,” he told CNN.
“I’m not entirely sure why we care about the opinion of one guy with one website. Our foreign policy and the interests of this country are far stronger than his one website,” he added.
He went on to downplay the damage caused by the release of more than 250,000 cables, which included sensitive information from several key diplomatic fronts and candid remarks by diplomats and world leaders.
“Our foreign policy is far stronger than one person with one website. We have behind us the interests, not just of more than 300 million American citizens, but the hopes and dreams of the entire world,” Gibbs said.
The WikiLeaks release included cables under Clinton’s name asking diplomats to gather information that normally would be the work of spies, including the credit card and frequent-flier numbers of foreign officials.
A cable from July 2009 sought technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys.
Another cable signed by Clinton sought “biographic and biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats” from US diplomats at the United Nations.